Dean Habegger was born in Clearfield. PA and grew up in Berne, a small town in northeastern Indiana. He studied at Indiana University in Bloomington, earning a BS in Art Education and a BFA in Painting. He attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago on a full graduate merit scholarship, earning an MFA in Painting and Drawing.
He works in a variety of media, including painting, drawing and mixed media collage and assemblage. Along with creating new works on paper, canvas and wood, he also recycles and reworks unfinished older works. These works are created by sanding, scraping, scratching, drawing and painting.
Over the last 30 years Dean has lived in Chicago; Laramie, WY; Boulder and Denver, CO; Indianapolis, IN and Libertyville, IL. He currently lives and works in his home studio in Kenosha, WI.
Organic Materials: Since the late 1980’s Dean has worked with a variety of organic materials. The dried materials he has experimented with and incorporated into his work include citrus peelings, sunflower seed shells, leaves of various kinds (including strawberry tops), peach pits, cantaloupe skins, avocado skins/pits and branches/twigs. Most of Dean’s work, even when more abstract, incorporates elements of traditional subject matter such as still life and landscape.
I have a passion for looking at art and particularly the work of 20th Century and contemporary artists. I would say that several artists have influenced me at various times. However, my work has been as much or more influenced by looking at sources outside the world of art along with always staying connected to my personal history. This way of viewing my mission as an artist was encouraged in college by teachers Robert Barnes and Barry Gealt and reinforced in graduate studies with Theodore Halkin and Ray Yoshida.
The need to develop and nurture solid technical and formal practices has been and remains a constant companion, enabling me to bring sources and ideas together. Many of the ideas that come into my work, whether literal, symbolic or abstract, come from my small town conservative Christian upbringing, filtered through the lens of social and political changes in the 1960’s to the present day. I thrive on the notion that my particular background combined with progressive ideas that have been and will continue to shape our culture, give my work a unique and personal quality that will communicate with a broad audience. Through the processes and materials I use, I hope that my work will create a spark of recognition and/or positive aesthetic and thought-provoking experience for the viewer.